'Finding out I was pregnant was the best wedding gift'
Former Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh has coped with the tough world of showbusiness, but motherhood has surprised her with its demands. She tells Gabrielle Fagan about her wedding, her toddler son and preparing for baby number two
Kimberley Walsh laughs as she reveals her plan for a large brood of children has gone awry since she's experienced the reality of looking after an energetic toddler while expecting another baby.
Although she took the demands and pressures of fame, performing and touring in her stride during 11 years in pop band, Girls Aloud, the 34-year-old describes motherhood as "amazing", but not as easy as she expected.
"I started out saying, 'I definitely want four kids', but now, when I see parents with four or five I'm like, 'Wow, well done but, er, how do you do that?' I honestly don't know whether I'd manage four, so I'm definitely not making any more promises about numbers. Let's just say the family's growing slowly but surely," declares Walsh, whose second baby with husband, Justin Scott, (33), is due at Christmas. The couple have a two-year-old son, Bobby.
"When I had my scan for this baby, I immediately asked, 'Are you sure it's not twins?' I just needed to put my mind at rest. I'm glad I'm having this baby now while I've got some energy - dwindling as it may be. Motherhood's changed my life - it brings out your emotional side and Bobby and the baby are my priority - but I've realised there's no off-switch. It can be tough with no time for rest, especially when you're running around after a busy toddler."
There's no sign it's taken any toll on her looks - she's radiant and glamorous as she poses to launch her role supporting Pampers and UNICEF's Amazing Babies campaign (it has been going 11 years and has saved over 500,000 babies' lives) which aims to eliminate maternal and newborn tetanus and is "proud to be able to play a part in helping mothers have healthy babies and to help save lives" - but she's certainly had a whirlwind year.
She and Scott married in February in a lavish ceremony in Barbados, with her former Girls Aloud bandmates Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Nicola Roberts as bridesmaids. A few weeks later she discovered she was pregnant.
"Justin and I have been together 13 years, so we waited a long time to marry. In the end, Bobby gave us the impetus to become a family officially. It made our wedding day even more emotional because he was with us," she says, before jokingly revealing that her little boy's presence also turned the occasion into "carnage".
"He was a page boy and supposed to walk down the aisle with my three nephews and my best friend's little boy, but it turned into chaos as they all tripped up, fell over and were stepping over one another. Bobby only made it half-way down because he decided to lie down and take a nap.
"It was carnage, but so funny. What was especially lovely was that just as we'd finished saying our vows, with perfect timing, Bobby suddenly shouted out, 'Yeah.' It was so sweet that he made himself totally part of our perfect day. Finding out I was pregnant a few weeks later was the best wedding gift."
Walsh wants to continue forging a new career in television and musical theatre - in 2011 she made her West End debut in Shrek the Musical, was a runner-up in Strictly Come Dancing in 2012, and starred last year in Elf: The Musical.
Currently, she's also trying to prepare Bobby for the arrival of his sibling. "I'm hoping to get him used to the idea of having a brother or sister. We haven't found out the sex of this baby as we want to keep it a surprise. Bobby talks to the baby in my tummy and pretends it's kicking him, which is cute so he's engaging up to a point, but really he's too young to understand," she explains.
"He loves babies though, so fingers crossed he'll enjoy looking after the baby - either that or he'll turn into the devil. At the moment he's a sensitive, placid little boy, but who knows how he'll react? I'm so looking forward to it."
Unsurprisingly, he shares his parents' musical genes. Her husband was in boy band, Triple 8, who recorded for the same label as Girls Aloud, before he became a property developer.
"Bobby's a real character and a bit of a show-off. He's got real rhythm, can clap in time and even change beats from double to single. He's obsessed with music and dancing, which I kind of expected with our background, but it's funny when you see performing signs so early," says Walsh.
"I would perform at the drop of a hat as a kid, so I'd support him if he followed in our footsteps, but I'm encouraging him to go to work with his dad when he's renovating properties so he can see as much of that practical world as possible, and maybe take an easier route than show business."
Her husband's qualities as a father have, she says, further strengthened their relationship. "Justin's a wonderful dad and so hands-on and that's kind of made our relationship grow. Although he'd had experience with his daughter, Chloe, (16), when he was very young, I didn't know if he'd have quite the same enthusiasm going back and starting again, but he loved it from the start. It's so lovely seeing him and Bobby - a blonde-haired blue-eyed mini-Justin - together."
Blissfully happy, Walsh who'll turn 35 in November, says: "This is such a nice age because I feel totally comfortable and settled with where I am in life and where I am as a person".
Clearly it's a contentment she wishes for her good friend, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, (33), currently dating former One Direction singer, Liam Payne, (23), to share. There are unconfirmed rumours that the couple are expecting a baby. Walsh simply says: "It's so good to see Cheryl so happy. When it's your best friend, that's what you want for them, and she's in a really good place right now."
Yorkshire-born Walsh, who found fame at 21 when she auditioned for reality ITV show, Popstars: The Rivals in 2002, is buoyant about the future. "Life's about finding the right balance, which I think I have so far. I've learnt you just have to go with the flow and hope things work themselves out - and they generally do."
Kimberley Walsh is supporting the Pampers UNICEF campaign. For every specially marked pack of Pampers purchased, Pampers will donate the equivalent cost of one vaccine to help UNICEF in the fight against Maternal and Newborn Tetanus (MNT). Visit facebook.com/PampersUKIre to find out more.